How to Choose a Dating Service

All of the dating services I have investigated and dealt with have given their customers the idea that they will find them the perfect mate. The dating services will show you pictures of their past clients who have dated and then married.

In fact, one of the services I investigated for a TV consumer report showed me a picture of the General Manager of KCBS-TV and his wife at their wedding. The owner of the service said the general manager of the station and his wife had both been clients of the dating service.

I called my boss and asked him if it was true that he had found his wife through this dating service. He said, “Yes, it’s true, but please don’t put me in your story.”  Well you know me, The Troubleshooter, I put him in my story. It proves that sometimes dating services work.

However, I had more complaints about people paying high up front fees and not finding anyone to date, much less marry. Dating services have more young men signing up than young women. But , after women reach the age of 50 many more women join the dating services than men. In fact many services will let men in their 50’s and 60’s join for free just to get them on the books. Whereas women in their 50’s and 60’s have to pay high fees to join the dating services. It’s all supply and demand. A woman in her late 50’s will not pay $600 to $1,000 to join a dating service unless the agency has a number of men in their late 50’s or 60’s to choose from.

Some services simply have clients listed by age, their likes and dislikes, their hobbies, and what they like to do for fun. And of course, there is always a picture. After paying the fee the clients can look people up in the books and leave a message and phone number for the person they would like to meet.

More sophisticated services have video tape files on all their clients. You simply check out a videotape, look at it, and decide if you would like to meet the person. When a person gets a message that they have been chosen, they can then go to the video library and look at that person’s videotape. If both want to meet, they set a date.

The costs for the services vary. Some video dating services with hundreds of clients can charge as high as $1,800. Other services will charge as little as $200 or $300.

How not to be ripped off:

Ask for names of people who have already joined the dating service and see if they think it is working for them. However, most services will not give you names of members until after you have paid your fee.

Ask for the current number of members you will have to choose from, and their sex and age. If you are a 26-year-old woman and looking for a man in his 30’s and you find out that most of their 50 clients are women in their 60’s, you know you are at the wrong place. Again, many times the dating service will not tell you this information. So simply hang around outside the parking lot and talk to some of the members. Normally you will get an ear full. Plus you might get a great date.

Many of the dating services or clubs put a time limit on the services you get for your fee. The contract could be for six months or a year.

When you sign a contract with them, make it clear that if you do not find someone to meet in your stated category and age range that you get some of your money back. Ask the agency to include in your contract the number of men or women they have listed in their service that fit your general category of person you want to meet. If they only have three people who fit your category you should think long and hard about paying that fee. Warning to women in their late 50’s and 60’s. Many of the men who are 60 and older are actually paid or are put on the video tape list free so they have men to show you. Men in this category are hard to find. In this age group the services will sometimes have a ratio of  5 women to 1 man.

Dating services are only right for some people. Many others will do better at church mixers or Senior Citizens dances and mixers. Athletic events, like company baseball games, or city women’s or men’s leagues are much better ways to meet people than bars. Adult night school classes are a way for people in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s or so to meet and have coffee after class. Bars are out, unless it is a coffee bar. Volunteering in political campaigns, or other community activities, will put you in contact with people doing the same thing you like to do. Bars are out.

Remember, paying a fee to a dating service is a gamble and many lose; but for that matter, life is a gamble and many win.